Colombia diversifies crude slate with US Thunder Horse

OREANDA-NEWS. September 26, 2016. Three recent Thunder Horse cargoes leaving St James, Louisiana, mark the first US exports of the offshore light sour crude and resumption of Colombian receipts of US oil.

Colombian state-controlled Ecopetrol imported at least 500,000 bl of Thunder Horse in a recent purchase tender to supply its new 165,000 b/d Cartagena refinery (Reficar). This marks the third cargo of its kind that Ecopetrol has imported for Reficar, totaling roughly 1.5mn bl.

The Aframax British Robin is expected to arrive at St James on 25 September after a return trip from the port of Cartagena, Colombia, where it arrived earlier this week, according to vessel tracking data.

Aframax Adygeya made the same trip recently, leaving Louisiana 31 August to arrive at Cartagena on 1 September. The ship last checked in at Corpus Christi, Texas, 21 September.

The Aframax Eagle Kinarut was loaded at Plains All America's St James terminal on 21 August with 516,178 bl of the 31.5°-31.6°API crude for discharge at Reficar on 28 August, according to shipping intelligence firm ClipperData.

Two of these cargoes were supplied by BP Products North America, according to shipping fixture reports. Ecopetrol signed a one-year commercial agreement with BP earlier this year to identify the optimum domestic and foreign crude mix to process at Reficar, which was brought to full processing capacity in July.

The company imported a cargo of Bonito Sour crude in May, marking Colombia's first and only US crude import until Thunder Horse imports began in August.

The refinery runs a base slate of about 70pc of domestic Colombian crude oil including heavy sour Castilla Blend, Magdalena and Vasconia, while the remaining 30pc is imported. Incoming crude processed in Reficar so far includes medium sweet Brazilian crude like Lula or Sapinhoa, Nigerian Bonny Light and US Bonito Sour.